What Do They Really Mean When They Call Us 'Bougie'?

What Do They Really Mean When They Call Us 'Bougie'?


This piece was inspired by a classmate of mine, Maya Mitchell. Last week, she released what I felt was a very necessary piece about our esteemed institution, Spelman College, and the elements that make it as special as it is. Now this piece was unlike any other piece I’ve ever read about Spelman, mainly because I’ve had intimate experiences with all of the components she highlighted. Whether it's the bad luck associated with walking under the alumnae arch or the search for a good white dress, every item on her list resonated with a part of my heart and probed me to debunk the most regurgitated theory about Spelman and the women that attend this great institution.

My position at Spelman now is something that I could not have even tried to predict for myself my senior year of high school when I began the tireless process of applying to college. I have never been afraid to admit the bumpy path I traveled to get to where I’m at now, but rarely do I ever admit the fact that I once led astray of HBCUs and the quality of the education they provide. I applied to over ten schools, including University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Vanderbilt, and University of Michigan, with only two of those schools being Historically Black; Howard University and Spelman College. But even in the process of applying to those two historically black institutions, my conviction that I could only attain an ivy league education at an ivy league stuck with me.

Accepted, waitlisted, and denied by some, I was convinced by a plethora of educators that to be taken seriously in the professional and intellectual world, my degree would have to be gleaned from a PWI (Predominately White Institution). But I chose Spelman, after much convincing from my mother, but also after following my gut feeling; a decision I'll stand by today, tomorrow, and next week, as my decision to attend Spelman was the best decision I have ever made in my life. However, (again, not afraid to admit this) I knew little to nothing about Spelman. The household of my good friend Evan Gayles, a rising sophomore at Howard University, is one of the first places where I heard the name of Spelman College. Her mother was a Spelman woman and just from leisure reflection, I remember that it was a fact she held on to with pride. The reason for her pride, little did I know, I would soon experience myself.

After determining that Spelman would be the institution that I would further my education at, I took it upon myself to reverse my ignorance of my new home. I became privy to the culture, history, and dynamic of the school. I’d never been in an all girls environment before, so I wanted to know what was so enriching about it. I was interested in seeing their curriculum, what internship opportunities they had to offer, and what businesses and corporations heavily recruited at Spelman. I was interested in hearing about the experiences of other Spelman women; whether they were class of 1988 or 2002, I was interested in knowing what the Spelman sisterhood was all about. And what I found was rich. The successes of my many predecessors showed tangible proof as to why Spelman reigns as the #1 HBCU in the country, and why this reign will be perpetual.

But what I ran into the most during my transition from a high school senior to a college freshman was the futile idea and opinion that all Spelman women were ‘bougie’. Even typing the words makes me feel as childish as those that preach it, but It’s a line I heard repeatedly during my first year of school from the mouths of both peers in Atlanta (those that attended other institutions and my brother institution, Morehouse College) and peers at home. Their stories and allegations painted the picture of a campus teeming with red bottom wearing trust fund babies who had an 8 o’clock campus curfew. They never had time for anything else but their work, and their curriculum bred them to be ruthless feminists who hydrate with men’s tears. They were cold-blooded, and an obvious force to not be reckoned with.

And I wasn’t necessarily sure if this was supposed to deter me, but I wanted ins. (I’m joking.)

But regardless of whatever preconceived notions those around me concocted about Spelman through either interaction or he-say/she-say, my own experiences can deem them all as invalid. Because of Spelman I know the importance of building a positive brand, and the importance of sustaining my education; I know how to always put myself in a position to learn something new no matter what the circumstance is. I know that I have a position in this world and that my talents can be used to change this world, otherwise I’m being selfish. I know hard work, and I know defeat in the face of hard work. But I also know 48-72 hours without sleep, persistence, and success. I know to never settle and I know that if I don’t get the credit that I’m owed, I take it because I deserve it. By attending an institution that has taken on the responsibility of ensuring the quantifiable success of women who look like me and only me, I now know how to get the attention of a world who tries so hard to deny both my existence and my contributions. And most importantly I know that I'm blessed to be apart of something as great as that. Besides, I truly don’t know another school that can teach me both the fundamentals of intersectionality while also being able to teach me how to love myself; and have both concepts integrated into a mandatory course.

The change that my institution has brought about in me in one year is change I thought I would never endure. I think any rising Spelman woman has a story about their life before Spelman and what exactly Spelman saved them from, and Spelman saved me from myself. It's a blessing to have a whirlwind of talent, but it's a curse to not know how to exercise that talent to the best of your ability and my institution taught me how. By not only reaffirming the presence of my talent, but by putting me in settings where my talent could thrive, I'm forever grateful for Spelman College and the light that she sees in all of her students well before we see it ourselves.

So no, we’re not bougie. What they really meant to say was educated and aware; alert and allergic to nonsense; unbothered and hungry- characteristics usually frowned upon by society when showcased by black women. But we don't care, we do it anyway. I’m Spelman bred, and everything about me says so.
Cover Image Credit: AUC CAM

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Empowering Mantras That Soothe The Soul

Learn and repeat these mantras to center yourself.

January is the month of change. We can decide to change at any time during the year, but the start of the new year pushes us to be our best self. If you have something you want to stop, or start doing, now is the time. As I sit in Spain far away from my family, friends, and peanut butter (which is shockingly impossible to find in Spain), I’m confronted with a new challenge and a new opportunity to grow. Although studying abroad is an incredible opportunity and I am more than grateful, I would be lying if I said there aren’t moments of crying in the shower and longing for my body pillow at home (his name is Maxwell and he is pink, and no, I’m not pregnant).

Whenever I get overwhelmed I find it extremely helpful to stop, take a deep breath (or sixty) and repeat calming mantras to myself until the feeling passes. Mantras can be words or sentences and phrases that you can repeat to yourself anytime, although traditionally they have been used during meditation. The goal is to help focus the mind internally and block out any external distractions. It helps to center you and mentally decongest. Scientifically, the benefits are incredible.

The repetition of mantras have been linked to a decrease in heart rate, brain waves and the ability to slow down breathing.

“I am enough”

Fake it till you make it. Believe it or not, say it over and over again. We are what we think, so think positive.

“This too shall pass”

Life goes on even when you think it can’t. We have to experience the peaks and valleys to live a full life. Remember that in a bad moment, it will pass and a new feeling will replace it. And treasure and revel in the good moments because you know what you have overcome and what you may face in the future.

“I am grateful”

Your nail breaks, you spill your coffee, you tumble down a flight of stairs. Plenty of things happen throughout our days that may cloud our overall perception. Challenge yourself in those negative moments to list three events or people you may have overlooked that made your day brighter. Gratitude literally alters the way our brains process our emotions and thoughts and the best part is that we are in control of making our thoughts positive.

“Let it Be”

Time and time again we learn this lesson. It is what it is, what will be will be. That’s not to say it’s always a graceful moment of acceptance, but there’s a certain freedom in knowing that so many things are out of our control.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/buildings-city-exercise-girl-374632/

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5 Must Things To Do During Second Semester

Looking for things to do during this winter season? This list has got you covered.

For many of us who have just started our second semester, or are about to, the stress of college is about to come at you full force and smack you in the face. Personally, I find second semester to be much more difficult compared to first semester.

First semester is filled with tailgates, football games, hayrides, pumpkin patches, Thanksgiving, Halloween, the list can go on and on. Due to the fact that there's so many more activities to do first semester than second, that can lead to a semi-dull second semester. With that being said however, here's a list of things you can do to prevent all that boredom.

1. Go to other sporting events that your college offers you

College sports are one of the best parts of living in America so you might as well take full advantage of them. Even though football season may be over, hockey and basketball season are in full swing right now. Also, by end of March and beginning of April, baseball will start as well. Going to games as a student is a great way to have fun with your friends while not having to bust open the piggy bank.

2. Pajama and movie nights

A simple enough idea, but has the potential to have tons of fun if you decide to give it your all. During the winter, especially up north, it can be brutally cold so staying inside is priority majority of the time. But that doesn't mean there's not a way to enjoy all that cold.

Curl up with your best friends whether it be in your dorm room or apartment while showing off the funniest or best pajamas you own. Pick out your favorite movies and settle down for a night full of laughter, gossip, and memories.

3. Enjoy the outdoors

Even though I just said that winters up north can be brutally, there's still plenty to offer when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. Go ice skating and watch all of your friends struggle to stay upright and fall down, or go skiing/snowboarding and enjoy the beauty of the snow while getting a great workout in.

Or, you could be like my friends and steal dining hall food trays and use those to sled down some hills. Having these options can help you look forward to the winter and enjoy activities other than staying inside.

4. Go to a museum

Learning about different cultures or parts of history can be a lot more fascinating than people would like to admit. Go to your local college museum and check out cool facts there or drive to a city around you to check out other museums as well. If you're close to a moderate to large city, you will usually be able to find a history museum, aquarium, or some type of science museums. These are fun ways to learn new facts about the past, present, and future of our world.

5. Day trip

Spontaneous (or not spontaneous) day trips can be a blast with your friends or significant other. Choose a random place to go and drive there. Find something to do wherever you go. You'll make some great memories that'll last you a lifetime. It doesn't even have to be far, it can be only 30 minutes away and still be just as fun. Where the destination is doesn't matter, it's who you're going with that matters.

I hope these 5 ideas of what to do in the winter will help you enjoy your second semester of college while still having as much as first semester. After all, you're only in college for four years, so take advantage of everything you can do while you can!

Cover Image Credit: Maddie Blank

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